Stephen Streener guilty of Jacqueline Grant murder
A man who murdered his married lover then set his house on fire to conceal the evidence has been jailed for life.
Stephen Streener, 49, from Choppington, Northumberland, strangled Jacqueline Grant, 48, last November, then left her body on their burning bed.
Streener had denied murder, telling a Newcastle Crown Court jury he was away looking after his pigeons at the time.
Judge Paul Sloan told Streener he must serve a minimum term of 18 years in prison.
The court was told a post-mortem examination concluded Ms Grant died from strangulation.
She was found found lying on the charred remains of a bed at the house in Meadowbank Drive, Choppington, with a cord around her neck fastened to a bedside cabinet.'Cunning'
She had also been beaten, had two black eyes and severe bruising to her face.
After her killing and shortly before the body was found, pigeon fancier Streener sent a message to Mrs Grant's phone, which he was carrying, that said: "Hi babe, just finishing pigeons off then on way for Chinese. Darling, I love you darling. God I love you sweetheart. xxx"
The court heard Streener had left the house after the murder, but went back while firefighters were still there and appeared to be "in shock" at the scene.
Judge Paul Sloan said: "There is only one sentence that can be imposed in your case and that is a sentence of imprisonment for life."
After the 16-day trial, Det Ch Insp Ian Bentham of Northumbria Police said: "I, along with the family of Ms Grant, am relieved that their ordeal has now come to an end.
"The jury has ensured that a dangerous, cunning and calculating individual is going to be taken from the streets for some considerable time."